The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

May 4, 2014

Readers' Forum 5-4 | Please donate to letter carriers' food drive

JOHNSTOWN — Saturday marks the 22nd anniversary of one of America’s great days of giving – the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Letter carriers walk through the community every day, often coming face-to-face with a sad reality for too many –  hunger. So, each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect nonperishable food donations from our customers.

These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in the local area.

The need for food donations is great. One in six Americans are unsure where their next meal is coming from. This includes 16 million children and nearly 5 million seniors over age 60.

Our food drive’s timing is crucial. At this time of the year, many food pantries are depleted and school breakfast and lunch programs are not available.

Participation is simple, just leave a nonperishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on May 10 and your letter carrier will do the rest.

I invite you to join in America’s great day of giving and help us in our fight to end hunger.

Joseph G. Antal

president, Pennsylvania State Association of Letter Carriers

We can recognize, prevent violence

Are Alex Hribal and Anjohnito Willet twins? They both committed acts of extreme violence at their schools (Franklin Regional and Brashear, respectively).

They are both being tried as adults.

It sends ripples of pain through our communities when we hear news about dangerous behavior in our schools. It feels better to think of these boys as sociopathic adults who must be isolated from the rest of society.

However, brain research clearly indicates these boys won’t have adult reasoning abilities until they are around 23 years old.

Predicting when an eruption of violence will occur is extremely difficult; however, recognizing the warning signs of a person with severe distress building up, and taking steps to reduce this distress, is very possible.

Most people who commit acts of violence are living life the best way they know how. The transformation that is needed is to improve the best way they know how.

Maureen McHugh and Christian Vaccaro of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and I have developed the REACH conference that will be held May 20-23 at IUP. We hope this conference will help attendees identify ways, whether big or small, they could contribute to a grassroots movement to make interpersonal violence a rare event. If you come to the REACH conference, you may leave feeling tired and irritated that there is so much to think about if we want to end violence.

However, you will be better educated about how to recognize the signs that a risky situation is building up and know how to access the help of individuals who can help make the risk decrease.

If we build a community of determination, we can reduce acts of violence in our community. To register, go to: www.iup.edu/reach.

Pearl Berman

Psychology Professor at IUP

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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